Brandscreen management buy back business after US acquisition

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 16 March 2015

It's no secret that Australian-founded media-buying platform Brandscreen has had its share of ups and downs, but in an unexpected twist its Sydney-based management team has bought the business back.

The 2007-founded demand-side platform (DSP) used by digital agencies, brand advertisers, and media trading desks, entered voluntary administration in December 2013 but headed out of administration early 2014.

It was acquired by US-based display exchange Zenovia for an undisclosed sum and its teams in New York and Sydney had been doing well – securing a number of large advertisers, trading desks, and enterprises including Qantas Red Planet, SSI, Enigma Media, Cadreon and Audience Precision and XL Axiata, one of Indonesia’s leading telecommunications service providers.

As of today the Australian subsidiary and associated intellectual property, assets and obligations and the Brandscreen platform now belong to its Sydney-based management team – vice president APAC and MD at Brandscreen, Robert Manning, and chief operating officer, Neil Anderson (ex-Google and Neo@Ogilvy) and an investor group.

Despite doing well under Zenovia, Manning said they wanted to take the business further and bolster its offering and global reach.

The Brandscreen name will convey with the acquisition, which also enables the new Brandscreen team to sell, operate, and further develop the platform for customers based in the Asia Pacific region.

“We wanted more control over the business and when we approached Zenovia on this they said we had to run in-line with how they wanted it to run or, alternatively, we could buy it,” Manning said.

“We knew that what we offer, the innovation we have and the calibre of staff, was worth the move – we wanted to take back the local management.”

Manning, who was formerly global head of digital at Adstream and president of the NSW AIMIA Committee, said the buy, and the fact that it is an Australian-based and founded DSP, means Brandscreen can now respond to the local market in ways that it was not able to before.

“This transaction by the management team enables us to deliver bespoke solutions for our growing base of regional clients,” Manning said.

“Brandscreen has been a programmatic staple in Asia Pacific since 2007, and we’re excited to continue its growth and focus on the region.”

Manning, who said that Brandscreen is currently operating in its 11th generation code-set, said the newly independent entity will retain all members of its account management and technology teams.

He said the company's best asset is its staff and that the company now has big plans to take the digital out of home programmatic space by storm.

Brandscreen has started working with local partners, suppliers and international exchanges to grow the business. Manning said meetings have taken place with past suppliers who may have been owed money as a result of the voluntary administration.

“Australia is a small market and we knew and agreed that the best and honorable way forward was to make good with any monies owed to previous suppliers,” Manning said.

“We are excited about the market, the innovations and the algorithms we have. We have some great partners and based on this we can already tell that this year is set to be our biggest to date.”

Zenovia will continue to operate a core version of the DSP software for its clients outside of the Asia Pacific region, as well as its worldwide ZDX programmatic exchange and its AdJuggler ad server and supply-side platform.


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